Today is the memorial day of Blessed Chiara Bosatta. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of this saintly woman. No? I hadn’t either until I looked to see whose feast days fell on today’s date. As I researched her life I felt very drawn to her. Let me tell you a little about her.
Born in 1858, Dina Bosatta was the daughter of Alexander and Rosa Bosatta. Her father, a silk manufacturer, died when she was a young girl. She felt a spiritual calling and she left home to join the Canossians, an order started by St. Magdalene of Canossa as a way to reach out to the poor. The order became known as the Daughters of Charity. Dina would leave the order feeling that her calling was elsewhere. She joined the Daughters of Mary and began working in hospice care providing care for the neglected elderly and children. She also taught the children who resided under hospice care. She would eventually go on to co-found Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence. She took the name Chiara and lived out the remainder of her life working to take care of the needy and helping with the sisters’ spiritual formation. She died of natural causes in 1887.
I tried to do a google search to find more information about Blessed Chiara; very little came up for me. Her life is summed up in a paragraph. Most of us have never heard her name before today. Many of us will forget her name even after we have read about her. And yet, despite this, her efforts and her works matter just as much as if her name were as well-known as St. Teresa of Calcutta.
We each have hopes and dreams for our lives. I dream of one day being a well-known Catholic writer. I hope to inspire people with my words and my insights. It seems though that it will never happen for me. I often feel discouraged when I think of that dream slipping through my hands. I try to be patient, but it’s hard. When researching Blessed Chiara, I felt like God was whispering in my ear that it would be ok if that never happened for me. I won’t cringe when someone asks me, “What’s your name again?” You see, in the end it doesn’t matter if anyone knows our names because we are able to inspire and encourage others without ever revealing who we are or being well-known.
Our world tells us that to really be someone we must be well-known. Perhaps well-known means that the people in our own social circle look up to us; maybe it means everyone in our community recognizes our face. Maybe it even means that our name is a household word uttered by the mouths of children and adults alike. But God tells us a different story. He reminds us that we don’t have to be well-known to be someone; we only need to be ourselves.
You see, in the end it doesn’t matter who knows our names. More than likely after a few generations have passed no one will remember our names anyway. That popularity we crave now is a fleeting recognition. Instead, we should be striving to be known by our Father. His opinion is the only one that truly matters. There is a popular Christian song called, “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli.
The lyrics say:
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name
He knows my name
Blessed Chiara reminds me of this. We don’t all need our names in lights to be known. Some of us are called to do the work that will go unacknowledged by most people. We won’t receive awards or accolades for the job we do, and we will never be famous for the good deeds we do in the spirit of love and humility. But that is ok. While the world may never see us, God sees us. He knows us. He adores us. We are famous in His eyes. And that is enough.